Life’s joys and miseries

Hard work was created
for every person,
and a heavy yoke lies upon
human beings,
from the day when they leave
their mother’s womb
until the day when they return
to the mother of all.
Anxious expectation—the day of death—
fills their inner musings
and plants fear in their hearts.[a]
From the person who sits
upon a glorious throne
down to the person brought low
in dust and ashes,
from the person who wears purple
and a crown
down to the person dressed
in rough linen—
there exists anger, envy, confusion, unrest, fear of death,
fury, and conflict.
Even when they rest in bed,
nighttime dreams disturb their mind.
They get little or no rest;
they even toil in their dreams,
just as they do in the day,
being troubled by images in their mind,
as one who escapes from war.
They wake up at the most
desperate moment
and are astonished
that they were afraid for nothing.
To all flesh, both human and animal,
but to sinners seven times more so,
come death, blood, strife, sword,
catastrophes, famine, ruin,
and disease.[b]
10 All these things were created
for the lawless,
and because of such people
the flood happened.
11 Everything that’s from earth;
returns to the earth;
everything that’s from water
returns to the sea.[c]
12 All bribery and injustice
will be wiped out,
but good faith will last forever.
13 The money of the unjust
will dry up like a river,
and it will crash like loud thunder
in a rainstorm.
14 Generous people will rejoice,
but those who sin will ultimately fail.
15 The offspring of the ungodly
won’t produce many branches,
and they are polluted roots
on sheer rock.
16 A reed by any water or riverbank
will be pulled up before any grass.
17 Kindness is like an orchard of blessings,
and an act of charity will last forever.
18 Life will be sweet for the self-reliant
and the hardworking,
but better than both
is the person who finds a treasure.
19 Children and building a city
establish one’s name,
but better than both
is a wife who is considered blameless.
20 Wine and music make the heart glad,
but better than both
is the love of wisdom.[d]
21 A flute and a harp make sweet melodies,
but better than both is a pleasant voice.
22 The eye will desire grace and beauty,
but better than both
are the first shoots of a crop.
23 A friend and a companion encounter
each other at an opportune moment,
but better than both
is a woman with her husband.
24 Relatives and help
in a time of distress are good,[e]
but acts of charity
will rescue one better than both.
25 Gold and silver make one stand firm,
but more highly esteemed than both
is good advice.
26 Money and strength will lift up
one’s heart,
but fearing the Lord is better than both.
If you fear the Lord,
you’ll lack nothing;
if you have it,
there’s no reason to look for help.
27 Fear of the Lord
is like an orchard of blessing,
and it covers a person
more fully than any glory.
28 My child, don’t live the life of a beggar;
it’s better to die than to beg.
29 When people look
to another person’s table,
their way of life
cannot be considered a life.
They pollute themselves
by eating someone else’s food,
but a person who is intelligent
and educated will guard
against that.
30 In the mouth of the shameless,
begging is sweet,
but a fire will burn inside of them.


  1. Sirach 40:2 Gk uncertain
  2. Sirach 40:9 Gk scourge
  3. Sirach 40:11 Heb what’s from above returns above
  4. Sirach 40:20 Heb friends
  5. Sirach 40:24 Gk lacks are good.